February 22nd, 2015
The world is full of of embarrassing conditions you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Every week, Carian discusses one. This week: Micropsia.
Imagine how it would be like, when you have the feeling that you are trapped inside a room that’s far too small. As if you are a giant. Maybe funny when experimenting with some kind of hallucinating drugs. But pretty scary when it constantly seems like the world is just not big enough for you.
The condition in which people perceive objects as much smaller than they actually are is called micropsia, or the ‘Alice in Wonderland Syndrome’, or ‘Lilliput sight’. The visual distortion is usually a temporary condition and can be caused by several factors, including traumatic brain injury, swelling of the cornea, epilepsy, migraines and drug use. The symptoms can be extremely distressing, and may lead to panic or severe disturbance. The main group of people affected by this condition are children between 5 to 10 years old, with many growing out of it in their teens.
Treatment varies for micropsia due to the large number of different causes for the condition. Treatments involving the occlusion of one eye and the use of a prism fitted over an eyeglass lens have both been shown to provide relief from micropsia. When migraines cause the condition, it is usually short-lived and not treated. In the case of swelling of the cornea due to infection by the Epstein-Barr Virus, micropsia may present as an initial symptom of mononucleosis, but usually no specific treatment for the micropsia itself is undertaken. Usually, the condition improves within a few days.
The Little Black Book of Neuropsychology, by Mike Schoenberg & James Scott